Track and field is a huge sport many athletes around the country participate in during the spring. Although it’s not a contact sport, injuries still happen. Track and field offers a large variety of events for athletes to partake in such as running, throwing and jumping. Each of these events can lead to several different injuries, mainly due to overuse. However, there are many ways you can prevent yourself from getting injured this track and field season. Below are some simple steps you can take to reduce your risk for injury.
How to Prevent Track and Field Injuries
Wear Properly Fitted Shoes
Improper footwear can cause a number of injuries, including ankle sprains and fractures. The correct fitting shoe helps your ankle joints stay stable, and can help lessen the impact of heavy landings on your feet. A good rule to also follow is getting new sneakers every 300-500 miles or every new season to provide your fee with adequate protection.
To help prevent injuries, improve your running form and increase speed, there are certain warm-ups you need to perform. Toe walking, heel walking, high knees, butt kicks, rhythm skips, quick skips and bounding are all proper warm-up drills that you need to do before you practice or compete. But first make sure you start your warm-up with an easy jog and light stretching.
All track and field athletes should start training slowly and gradually progress as the season goes on. If you’re a runner, your duration and intensity should increase about 5-10% each week. It’s also good to switch up your workouts during the week, but make sure you’re also giving yourself time to rest to stay healthy.
Gait analysis measures your body movements, body mechanics and the activity of your muscles. Having your track and field gait looked at can help prevent different injuries, especially if you’re a distance runner. It’ll reveal how you’ll hold up during training and ultimately perform.
A great way to prevent injuries in track athletes is strength training. Strength training is used to strengthen the muscles, tendons, bones, and ligaments to increase muscle mass. It helps increase your speed, strength, agility and muscular endurance, which helps build up your resistance to injury.
Before any track and field event, you should always be aware of your form. Not having the correct form can lead to injuries. The more you work on your technique the better.
You should always take time after your event or practice to properly stretch and cool down. Each stretch should at least be held for 30 seconds, stretching out your hamstrings, quads, calves and back muscles.
Stay Hydrated and Eat a Healthy Diet
You should always be aware that you’re burning calories during practice. In order to perform better and avoid injuries, you should be replenishing what you lose. Staying hydrated and eating healthy can help. Every 15-20 minutes of exercise, you should be taking in six to eight ounces of fluid. You should also be eating a well balanced diet filled with protein, fruits, vegetables and dairy.
Find a Sports Medicine Provider in NJ
If you’ve injured yourself due to a track and field injury, schedule an appointment at RWJ Physician Enterprise. Our sports medicine providers can help you get back to your active lifestyle quickly and safely. Contact us for more information!